Biography and History

“The name of Sir John Maxwell is closely linked, first with the resuscitation of Egypt during the past half-century, and, secondly, with the Sinn Fein outbreak in Dublin in the war. Among the first of British officers to enter the Egyptian service, he was all but the last of his generation to leave that Army, after its reconstitution under British tutelage. From 1882 to 1899 he witnessed the whole reorganisation and training of those forces which finally undertook the reconquest of the Sudan. From Tel-el-Kebir to Omdurman he formed part of the machinery which attained this great result. Then later he returned to command the British garrison. Finally, at the outbreak of the war, he was sent to Cairo to protect the Nile Valley against invasion from east and west. Maxwell returned home from Egypt in March, 1916.” The Weekly Irish Times (March 2, 1929)

“His tenure of office in Ireland was remarkable for the firm measures which he took against the rebel leaders. His action in executing a number of them caused him to be the subject of an attack in the House of Commons, led by Mr. John Redmond, the Home Rule leader.” The Daily Express (February 22, 1929)

A chronological outline and brief biographical account of major events in the life of General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell (1859-1929), general, president of the Egypt Exploration Society, taken from various biographies and obituary notices:

Source: From the finding aid for C0583


  • Generals -- Great Britain..
  • Sir John Grenfell Maxwell Papers. 1824-1940 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0583

    General Sir John Maxwell served in Egypt during the British Occupation, notably participating in the Battle at Omdurman during the reconquest of the Sudan, and in South Africa during the Boer War. In World War I Maxwell returned to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and briefly served in Ireland after the Sinn Fein Rebellion. Consists of Maxwell’s diaries, correspondence, documents, photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia, printed matter and newspaper clippings.